NASHVILLE, Tenn, Dec. 6, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- In response to the tragic reality that a child is born dependent on opioids every 25 minutes, a respected group of local and national healthcare leaders has designed a company that will provide a holistic suite of services to help Medicaid-eligible mothers deliver healthy and thriving babies.
Based on his own experience trying to help family and friends navigate opioid addiction and pregnancy, social entrepreneur Justin Lanning launched 180 Health Partners to align existing medical and behavioral health programs with clinicians and resources. The company creates a tailored pathway to recovery for each mother's unique needs, including an advocate team consisting of peers, social workers, licensed counselors, nurses and resource navigators. With services launching initially in Tennessee in January 2017, the nationally replicable program will be offered through state Medicaid programs and their health plan partners.
Lanning's venture is a labor of love, designed in collaboration with a nationally recognized Board of Directors and Medical Board – including former U.S. Sen. Bill Frist, M.D.; former western region CEO of Amerigroup Aileen McCormick; Boston University School of Public Health professor Mary Jane England, M.D.; former TennCare Director Darin Gordon; and University of Tennessee Medical Center vice chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology Craig Towers, M.D.
"Our program meets each mom where they are, creating a plan that is uniquely designed for her life and circumstances, so she can deliver a strong and healthy baby and be positioned for successful long-term parenting," Lanning said. "At 180, we offer hope, compassion and support so that these moms don't have to face this challenge and social stigma alone."
The withdrawal from opioids is very difficult for newborns, with symptoms including cardiac and respiratory complications, seizures, hyperactive reflexes, dehydration and poor feeding, all which require long, expensive stays in hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Units. Known as Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), the National Institutes of Health reports the condition increased by 500% between 2000 and 2012. This parallels the country's addiction to opioid drugs, which also continues to rise.
"For most pregnant women, the process of getting off drugs is likened to entering a complex maze with a clock ticking down to the birth date and no map, all the while experiencing the cravings of drug dependency," said Sen. Frist. "180 Partners focuses on each patients' individual needs and that includes support to reduce negative life circumstances that can deter their success." 180 Health Partners addresses the mother's Social Determinants of Health, which can include additional medical support, behavioral health support, housing, food, clothing, transportation, job training and employment as well as baby care and nurturing. In addition, the program utilizes an advocate team approach to provide coaching and guidance for each expectant mother through the tapering process, the birth and beyond.
Melanie McCarter joined 180 Partners as a peer advocate because of her own experience of overcoming the challenges of being pregnant and taking opioids. "I attempted and failed detox dozens of times, both in and outside the health system. My journey is all too familiar for mothers seeking support. First, I had to try many times on my own due to of lack of capacity, long wait lists, and services whose location and requirements were not realistic for my life circumstances. Second, it was extremely lonely and confusing to understand my options and the quality of those options. Third, I desperately needed more than just medical care. I needed support in every aspect of my life." Melanie continued, "I am fortunate to have found the support I needed on my own. Far too many mothers never find the support they need for their particular circumstances. I am grateful for the opportunity to help women pass over the threshold into recovery and find a hope and love that makes life worth living."
Board member McCormick said: "Women's and children's health are major areas of emphasis in every Medicaid program. There is tremendous value in being able to partner with outcomes-based socially responsible companies like 180, which can help provide scalable programs to address this national epidemic in a way that uniquely understands each mother and each community."
For more information, visit www.180healthpartners.com.
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SOURCE 180 Health Partners